Nicole Cooke and Lizzie Armitstead will ride in the British team cars for Sunday’s London Surrey Cycle classic. The pair are likely to be joint leaders for the women’s Olympic road race next year but without a test event for women, they don’t get to preview the route.

“It is sexist, but it’s the same for all the girls, so we just have to do what we can to use the home advantage.” Cooke said when asked what she thought of the situation.

World time trial champion Emma Pooley was similarly disappointed. “It’s a real shame they haven’t put a woman’s race on, I think there’d be plenty of takers for it. They could run it on the same circuit, just start it 50km down the route from the men, use the same finish line, everything is set up.”

Although the 2012 route is too flat for Pooley to have much of an impact herself, she will act as super domestique for Cooke and Armitstead, both of whom have fearsome sprints. “How much extra effort would go in to putting on a women’s race? I’m sorry, but we have a sport as well, it kind of annoys me every time.”

“It would be a fantastic race to watch. It’s not just about equality, women’s racing is also interesting. People watch women’s tennis and women’s athletics, and we have a good number of riders who do well internationally.”

Cycling Weekly asked LOCOG why a women’s race couldn’t be held before the men’s, but got no reply.

Next year the women’s race follows exactly the same course as Sunday’s test event, tackling the Box Hill loop twice before heading back in to London and the finish on the Mall.

Related links
London-Surrey Cycle Classic: The big preview

  • Simon E

    We have some of the world’s best women cyclists in Team GB! If they were tennis players or whatever it would be on TV, in the newspapers etc etc, sadly Emma’s tells it as it is. Cycle sport is a huge blind spot in this country (though they were happy enough with all the medals won by cyclists in 2008) and women’s cycling is even worse. Mind you, the cycling press don’t give the women much help either.

  • stuart stanton

    ps I note that there was no shortage of female competitors in the test event for Beach Volleyball. Wonder why?

  • stuart stanton

    Its a total disgrace. Another slap in the face for Ncole Cooke to rank with that patronising incident at the BBC Sports Awards a few years back. Follow in cars as observers indeed! Who are these people to make such demeaning ‘decisions’?

  • Malcolm meddings

    Is there a rule which prevents the ladies joining in the race with the men? If there is, why not follow on bikes as Official Observers?

  • Richard

    I concur, women’s racing is just as good to watch as men’s racing. Enough of the sexism LOCOG. The Olympics is one of the few arenas where women’s sport gets the coverage it deserves. Not having a women’s race is a very poor show.

  • Tim

    I agree with the above comments and really cannot understand why women have still not got parity, not only in races but right across the board. Do any intellectual answers exist?

  • Locog appear clueless

    They just don’t care about the women’s race and they are so wrong. The women’s racing is every bit as good as the mens. The results from our riders has been nothing short of fantastic. Inspirational. (How can anyone forget the 2008 world championship. One of the most inspirational races and how the girls worked for each other and shared the glory and were happy for each other at the end.)
    Surely this missing race is therefore a sexist inspired oversight. Along with their Box hill nonsense and the ticket allocation jokes locog have managed to mismanage the whole thing rather well.
    So disappointed.

  • Steve F

    That’s a radical hairdo Lizzie! seriously – I am just as interested in watching the women as the men, it’s all cycling, what’s the difference? The UK has some great women cyclists, why not make full use of them?

  • stuart stanton

    You would have thought that with Nicole being the Olympic Champion – she would have been projected via this event back into the public conciousness. A women’s event should have taken precedence over the men’s event.

    You would have thought a lot of things. Whwn push comes to the provebial shove, the women always get shown out the back door. Emma Pooley is bang on with her remarks,